Forestry Land Scotland Report
Felling of infected Larch trees in Glen Finart will start shortly and should not impact the community as it is in the Glen. Please see map of haulage route.
SPHN’s (Statutory Plant Health Notice) has been served for Ravens Rock, Barnacaber and Sligrachan. Dates for work to start is still to be confirmed.
Please continue to refer to the Phytophthora ramorum website for up to date information on confirmed SPHN (Statutory Plant Health Notice) sites and timeframes for removal of infected larch. https://forestryandland.gov.scot/visit/forest-parks/argyll-forest-park/phytophthora-ramorum
If you have any queries regarding this please email firstname.lastname@example.org
National Park Report
The Park has now substantially closed down its outdoor operational activities for the year, having kept camp sites, slipways etc open for an additional month to the end of October. Toilets and car parks remain open. The camp sites owned and managed by the Park were, as expected very busy this year – with some 18,000 bookings, as opposed to 13,000 the previous year, which has been a record.
Senior staff of the Park continue to participate in 2 important groups, established to help plan for next year and address as best we can the current situation. We chair the NP Recovery Group which brings together all partners (FLS, Councils, Police etc) to monitor current issues, prepare for 2021, lobby for additional resources etc. In addition, the Chief Executive sits on a Government convened group – the National Review Group, looking at longer term requirements for the sector across the country, this involves input from the likes of Visit Scotland, NatureScot, Cairngorm NP etc. A current significant frustration in terms of planning for next year is that the Park will not receive a budget settlement until the end of January 2021 – this impacts on our ability to plan ahead with any great confidence. Other parties, such as FLS are similarly impacted.
Of particular concern, I’m sure will be the future plans of FLS as regards the management of the Ardentinny beach camp site. I have not received any recent update from them as to how they intend to begin to implement improved management of the site and would welcome the opportunity to speak with them with some involvement from the community. On that front, the Park is organising further Community Focussed meetings, bringing together partners and community groups from across the park area (of a kind we’ve staged before). That would be a good opportunity to raise this matter. I’m hopeful that the next such conference will be arranged before the Christmas period.
Following the sad passing of Councillor Ellen Morton I have now been formally elected to the Chair of Planning and Access Committee for the Park (I’d been deputising for the past 10 months during Ellen’s illness). Argyll and Bute’s replacement nominee is Councillor Shonny Patterson.
There have been no significant planning related issues to report. No progress (or otherwise) with the Fish Farm interest. There has however been a further EIA screening application made for a fish farm close to Ardgarten on Loch Long (different company tho).
Argyll and Bute Council Report
A lot of the Council’s effort this year has gone into dealing with the effects of Covid-19, for example processing applications from businesses for grants and delivering meals to people who are shielding.
The schools are all open, but office staff are still working from home.
The major road works planned for this year have been carried over to next year, although some preparatory work may be carried out in the current financial year.
The Shore Road through Strone and Blairmore will get surface dressing (loose chips). The bus turning area at Gairletter will be resurfaced.
In response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the preferred route for access to Argyll, the Council’s response was that the existing route of the A83 through Glen Croe to the Rest & Be Thankful is the only realistic option and a permanent solution should be put in place there.
The Council added that Option 5 may provide merit for longer term consideration to further improve connectivity and resilience into and out of Argyll. Option 5 involves new bridges across Loch Fyne and Loch Long. These would be connected by a new road across Cowal from Otter Ferry and going through Glen Finart. The bridge across Loch Long would be further up the loch from Coulport. If this option were to happen, it will be many years in the future and after extensive consultation.
Bus services are now operating at about 80% of pre-Covid levels. West Coast Motors say they rely on fare income as well as grants from the Council to cover their costs. Although the Scottish Government have provided an increased amount of grant, this is not enough to cover the cost of providing the pre-Covid level of service. The last bus to Ardentinny leaves Dunoon ferry terminal at 1950.
Updated bus timetables are to be added at bus stops and sent to community councils to put on notice boards.
The Council is holding a consultation to find out people’s views on bus services. This consultation closes on Tuesday 24 November. See www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/consultations/public-and-school-transport-review
Public and School Transport Review
Argyll and Bute Council
The Council will be adopting a decarbonisation plan at its meeting on 26 November. The aim is to deliver net zero carbon emissions by 2045.
Councillor Alan Reid